GAME PREVIEW CAPSULE
Desert Hills (0-0) at Syracuse (0-0)
Classification: 3A, Region 9
Last year: 9-4
Coach: Carl Franke (first year)
Players to watch: QB Ty Rutledge moves from the slotback position and his athleticism mirrors that of last year’s Porter Harris. TE/DE Josh Anderson is a supreme athlete and Travis Lagrone returns to anchor the defense.
PPG (last year): 26.4
PAPG (last year): 19.2
Trend: Franke was a bit hot-headed when he first started coaching in Utah, but since has settled down and should be a good fit for the Thunder. But Desert Hills had nearly 30 seniors last year, so this young team will need to grow up in a hurry.
Classification: 5A, Region 1
Last year: 8-4
Coach: Russ Jones (57-51)
Offense: Spread and two-back
Players to watch: Brock Anderson is the new QB for Syracuse. A trio of running backs, Mason Woodward, Kavika Fonua and Matt Kealamakia, are going to be hard to stop.
PPG (last year): 20.0
PAPG (last year): 13.6
Trend: Syracuse is a big school in a region that loves to play defense. The philosophy for the Titans is to stack the best players on D and dare other teams to score on them. Last year, Syracuse allowed less than two TDs per game and most of that defense is back.
The Thunder and Titans had an epic defensive war last year, won by Syracuse 14-12. DH has athletes, but little experience. The Titans have athletes, experience and size. Many are picking Syracuse to go all the way in 5A. This is a tough career-opener for Coach Franke.
Andy Griffin — Syracuse
Jeff Ames — Syracuse
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